Summary of the Settlement of the Abercrombie & Fitch Class Action Lawsuit

On April 14, 2005, Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted final approval to a settlement of the class action lawsuit Gonzalez v. Abercrombie & Fitch. The settlement required the retail clothing giant to pay $50 million, less attorneys’ fees and costs, to Latino, African-American, Asian-American and female applicants and employees who charged the company with discrimination.

Through a consent decree, the settlement also requires the company to institute a range of policies and programs to promote diversity among its workforce and to prevent discrimination based on race or gender.

Consent Decree For Abercrombie’s Employment Practices

The Consent Decree contained provisions through 2009 relating to the recruitment, hiring, job assignment, training, and promotion of Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, and abercrombie kids employees. These provisions included:

  • “Benchmarks” for hiring and promotion of women, Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans. These benchmarks are goals, rather than quotas, and Abercrombie will be required to report on its
    progress toward these goals at regular intervals;
  • A prohibition on targeting fraternities, sororities, or specific colleges for recruitment purposes;
  • Advertising of available positions in publications targeting minorities of both genders;
  • A new Office and Vice President of Diversity, responsible for reporting to the CEO on Abercrombie’s progress toward fair employment practices (the Office has already been created, and the VP has been hired and begun work);
  • The hiring of recruiters focused on and seeking to hire women and minority employees;
  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Diversity Training for all employees with hiring authority;
  • Revision of Performance Evaluations for managers, making progress toward diversity goals a factor in their bonuses and compensation;
  • A new internal complaint procedure; and
  • Abercrombie marketing materials will reflect diversity by including members of minority racial and ethnic groups.

“The young men and women who applied to work at Abercrombie should have been judged on their qualifications, and not their skin color or gender. The class action settlement compensates class members for being subjected to the challenged practices and ensures that Abercrombie will improve its employment practices and diversity efforts nationwide,” stated Lieff Cabraser attorney Kelly M. Dermody.

About Lieff Cabraser

Founded in 1972, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is a national law firm of over 60 attorneys with offices in San Francisco, New York, Nashville, and Seattle. Our lawyers have been at the forefront of innovative and significant lawsuits advancing the rights of employees nationwide. We also represent plaintiffs in a wide range of other cases. Learn more about Lieff Cabraser.

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